December 2013 Monthly Forecast

Posted 27 November 2013
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Expected Council Action

In December, the Council will receive a briefing on the second quarterly report of the Secretary-General regarding the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), which is due 2 December. Council members are scheduled to have consultations following the briefing. An outcome is not expected.   

Key Recent Developments

The Council has been busy with Somalia during the past month. On 30 October, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s report on piracy (S/2013/623) and the joint AU-UN review of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and benchmarks for UN peacekeeping (S/2013/606).  The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Somalia, Fowsiyo Yusuf Haji Adan, also addressed the Council (S/PV.7054). On 12 November, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2124, which extended the authorisation of AMISOM until 31 October 2014 and increased its troop ceiling from 17,731 to 22,126. On 18 November, the Council also unanimously adopted resolution 2125, which reauthorised anti-piracy measures in Somalia and its territorial waters for another year. At press time, Council members were scheduled to hold consultations with the chair of the 751/1907 Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Oh Joon (Republic of Korea), on 26 November.         

Resolution 2124 includes a number of important measures relating to AMISOM, UNSOM and the Somali National Army (SNA). In addition to increasing AMISOM’s troop ceiling for a period of 18 to 24 months and extending the period of authorisation, resolution 2124:

  • expands the UN-financed logistical support package for AMISOM to cover these additional troops;
  • emphasises the critical need for AMISOM force enablers and multipliers (e.g., helicopters) and encourages contributions from member states;
  • requests the UN Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA) to provide the SNA with non-lethal support to be financed from a trust fund of voluntary contributions; and
  • welcomes the Secretary-General’s intention to deploy a guard force for UNSOM while asking for further details “as soon as possible”.

On 8 November, just a few days prior to the adoption of resolution 2124, the rebel group Al-Shabaab exploded a car bomb in Mogadishu, killing at least six people (including four policemen) and injuring 15 others. On 9 November, the Council issued a press statement condemning the attack (SC/11170).    

On 10 November, the governments of Kenya and Somalia and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) signed the Tripartite Agreement establishing procedures and a legal framework for the voluntary repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees, some of whom have been living in Kenya for more than two decades. Currently, more than 388,000 Somali refugees live at the Debaab camp in northeastern Kenya, another 54,000 are at the Kakuma camp in northwestern Kenya, and 32,500 live in Nairobi. The 21-24 September terrorist attack by Al-Shabaab in Nairobi has increased domestic political pressure in Kenya for the repatriation of Somali refugees, while UNHCR officials have maintained that the Tripartite Agreement guarantees the rights of Somali refugees who wish to remain in Kenya. Furthermore, UNHCR and humanitarian non-governmental organisations recognise that the security conditions are not yet right in most areas of Somalia for a large-scale return of refugees.                  

Illustrating the security challenges still facing Somalia, on 19 November Al-Shabaab attacked a police station in Beledweyne. An explosives-laden truck was detonated at a gate outside a police station run by AMISOM forces before attackers proceeded into the compound. According to a government spokesperson, 28 people were killed in the attack: 10 Al-Shabaab militants; 11 police officers; and seven civilians. Al-Shabaab claimed that AMISOM troops from Djibouti were also among the casualties.  The Secretary-General condemned the attack and emphasised the UN’s determination to continue supporting the government and people of Somalia.

Human Rights-Related Developments

Somalia continues to be one of the most dangerous countries for journalists. On 27 October, Special Representative of the Secretary-General Nicholas Kay expressed sorrow at the death of a journalist, Mohamed Mohamud Tima’adde, who the previous night had succumbed to injuries he had sustained when unknown assailants shot him several times on 22 October. Seven journalists have been murdered so far this year. (France and Guatemala plan to hold an Arria formula meeting in December on the protection of journalists.)

Key Issues

The principal focus of the Council in December will be on evaluating the progress of UNSOM since the last quarterly report of the Secretary-General.

A recurring issue of concern for the Council—especially in light of Al-Shabaab terrorist attacks—is the operational security of the UN presence in Somalia.

A further issue that may be of interest to Council members is the need to mobilise financial resources for additional AMISOM salaries and SNA assistance.


One option for Council members would be to discuss in consultations the potential impact of a more aggressive counter-insurgency approach by AMISOM on the implementation of UNSOM’s mandate (e.g., providing advice on peacebuilding and statebuilding and advice on human rights capacity-building, monitoring and reporting).

Another option would be following up on measures within resolution 2124, particularly with respect to plans for deploying a UN guard force at UNSOM compounds.

Council members may also wish to mobilise contributions to a UN trust fund to support SNA operations with AMISOM, coordinate with the EU and other potential donors to increase financial resources for AMISOM salaries and proactively work toward providing needed military equipment for AMISOM, particularly helicopters.

Council and Wider Dynamics

With the unanimous adoption of two resolutions and the issuance of a press statement (also a consensus document) within the last month, the Council has exhibited a high degree of unity with regard to policymaking on Somalia. Relatively minor differences among Council members resurfaced during discussions about modifying the authorisation of AMISOM in resolution 2124, such as language regarding humanitarian access and the reporting lines for UNSOA. Council members also differed over whether assistance for the SNA should be from assessed or voluntary contributions. But in general the negotiations regarding resolution 2124 were not very contentious, and they were even less so for resolution 2125 reauthorising anti-piracy measures. Continued attacks by Al-Shabaab seem to have reinforced Council resolve to further back AMISOM and take a more aggressive approach to counter-insurgency. 

Aside from whatever impact implementation of resolution 2124 may ultimately have at ground level in Somalia, its adoption is likely to have the more immediate benefit of improving relations between the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC). The increase in AMISOM’s authorised ceiling by nearly 4,400 troops is in line with longstanding, repeated requests by the PSC for higher troop levels and better military resources in order to more effectively implement the mission’s mandate.   Notably, the Chairperson of the Commission of the AU issued a press release on 14 November welcoming the adoption of resolution 2124. To the extent that UN members follow through with additional financial support for the SNA and military equipment for AMISOM, previously strained UN-AU relations over Somalia will likely be further improved.    

The UK is the penholder on Somalia, the US is the penholder on piracy and the Republic of Korea is the chair of the 751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee.

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Security Council Resolutions
18 November 2013 S/RES/2125 This resolution reauthorised anti-piracy measures for Somalia.
12 November 2013 S/RES/2124 This resolution increased the troop ceiling of AMISOM from 17,731 to 22,126.
2 May 2013 S/RES/2102 This resolution created UNSOM and authorised its deployment for one year as of 3 June 2013.
6 March 2013 S/RES/2093 This resolution authorised AMISOM deployment until 28 February 2014 and partially lifted the arms embargo on Somalia.
Secretary-General’s Report
21 October 2013 S/2013/623 This was a Secretary-General’s report on piracy off the coast of Somalia.
Security Council Letters
18 October 2013 S/2013/620 This was a letter from the Secretary-General forwarding a communiqué that had been adopted by AU PSC on 10 October.
14 October 2013 S/2013/606 This was a letter to the Council from the Secretary-General endorsing the recommendations of the joint AU-UN mission in Somalia.
Security Council Meeting Records
18 November 2013 S/PV.7061 This meeting concerned the reauthorisation of anti-piracy measures.
12 November 2013 S/PV.7056 This meeting concerned modification of AMISOM’s authorisation.
30 October 2013 S/PV.7054 This was a briefing to the Council by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson on the joint AU-UN assessment mission of AMISOM and benchmarks for a UN peacekeeping operation.
12 September 2013 S/PV.7030 This was a briefing on UNSOM.
Security Council Press Statements
9 November 2013 SC/11170 This statement condemned the 8 November terrorist attack by Al-Shabaab in Mogadishu.
21 September 2013 SC/11129 This statement condemned the terrorist attack by Al-Shabaab in Nairobi, Kenya.
13 September 2013 SC/11121 This statement expressed support for the agreement regarding the Interim Jubba Administration.

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